The cruise ships that are visiting Rome actually have to dock in the town of Civitavecchia which is approximately one hour north of Rome.
The cruise ship company offers a wide range of tours to be bused into Rome to visit various sites. Trini and I have been here in Rome several times throughout the years and we are always delighted to return. One can go back to the same sites and each time one sees something completely new. It happened again on this trip.
We, and few other members on the cruise that had also been here, decided to visit the city on our own. At the port we walk into town and caught the metro train into Rome. The train ticket was 5 euros, per person, each way. After about an hour trip, we got off at the Basilica metro station. The walk from the metro stop to the Basilica is about 10-minutes.
We visited the Basilica for the first time two years ago and we went through it rather quickly. Our plan for this visit was to take our time and see more of the aspects of this huge cathedral. As we walked into the courtyard in front to the Basilica we once again felt that sense of awe by just looking at the huge structure. The Basilica faces east so the morning sun we shining on the building and it was a beautiful view. We were glad we had multiple layers of clothing on and good jackets. I wore gloves and got use to wearing my scarf that I bought in Turkey. I had read that in February of 2012 it snowed in Rome. Until that date, it hadn't snowed here in 21-years. Today was a slightly windy day and you could feel the cold crisp air in our faces.
It is impossible to see all of the famous sites in Rome in one day. We have been here during the summer months and we could only see one or two major sites, at best, on a given day. Just waiting in line to buy entrance tickets and then go inside during the hot summer months can be long and frustrating.
People from around the world visit Rome year round. We visited, on this trip, in late November and you can still see a good number of visitors but again, during the summer months, the number of visitors is very high and lines to get into the sites gets long. Lines today were very short and we entered and pasted the security checkpoints very quickly.
Our main goal for today was to enter the Basilica and climb to the Copula. You can climb 320 stairs or for one euro more to the entrance fee you can take an elevator. We took the elevator! The elevator ends at the roof of the Basilica. From there you have to walk up the stairs where the walls are slanted since you are walking through the sides of the main dome. It's a very narrow pathway. Half ways up you can enter to see the inside the Basilica from within the dome. The view is spectacular. One returns to the stairways and continue to climb to the very top of the dome until one reach the very small Copula. There you can walk around to take pictures of the city of Rome. You can see for many miles since this is the tallest building in the city. At a distance, we could see the mountains covered with snow. The wind up there were strong and quite cold. One takes many pictures but one soon comes to realize that no matter how many pictures we take we will never be able to capture all the beautiful and grand scenery. We were sad to leave but we had other places to visit in the city that day.
We returned to the metro stop and continued traveling further into the city. The final stop of the metro was the central station. It was surprisingly a very big structure. We felt like we were in a huge mall or in an airplane terminal. We boarded another city metro that took us near the Trevi Fountain which is considered one of the world's most beautiful fountain. The area around it is usually packed with tourist and even though it was cold and it looked like it might rain, the area was crowded. It was a wonderful feeling to be visiting the Fountain once again. It's a beautiful piece of Baroque art.
From there we proceed to walk toward the Spanish Steps. Our plan was to visit it and then have dinner nearby in a sidewalk caf?®. They normally have outside heaters around the eating tables. We, of course had vino, then ate and finally ended with more vino. We looked at our watches and soon realized that we needed to rush into the nearby metro station and go back to the central station in order to catch our train back to Civitavecchia. We were trying to get to the main station and it was evening rush hour so it was stressful to walk amongst the walking traffic. We caught the train going back to the port city with only five minutes before it departed.
That was cutting it too short in time but we were happy to be on it and returning to the port. Once we got comfortably into our seats we realized that we had been outside in the cold almost the entire day. We then took a well deserved nap on the train and were happy to board the ship without a hitch.
By the time we boarded the ship it was 7:00 pm. We realized that we had been out and about for almost twelve hours. We were tried but felt excited about having visiting Rome. We had a very light dinner and went straight to bed. We need to rest because the next morning we would be arriving early to Livorno, Italy. It's the ship port to visit Pisa and Florence.